Todd Bookman

Reporter

Todd started at NHPR in 2009 as an intern, and in 2011, took over the health beat. He spent two years at WHYY in Philadelphia covering health and science, before returning to NHPR in 2016 as a general assignment reporter with a focus on business and economics. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University.

Ways to Connect

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New Hampshire is a step closer to having its legislative districts drawn by an independent commission, rather than by lawmakers.

On Thursday, the state Senate passed a bipartisan bill that would create a 15-member public body to draw legislative maps.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Backers of a plan to bring commuter rail to Nashua and Manchester say it’s finally time for the state to accept federal funds to complete a study of a potential train line.

Lawmakers are considering a bill, SB 241, that would use the funds to study the environmental, engineering and financial costs of a train line connecting the "capital corridor" with Massachusetts.

ICE.gov

The debate over immigration policy and migrants showing up at the southern border can feel far away, but these stories are also playing out much closer to home in New Hampshire. On Monday, a 28-year old Somali man was released from the Strafford County Jail in Dover after more than two-and-a-half years in detention.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

During her latest swing through the Granite State this weekend, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren stumped in Rochester, Bedford and Nashua, and spoke to guests at the Rockingham County Democrats summer clambake.

The senator from Massachusetts also sat down for a brief interview with NHPR inside the Portsmouth Book & Bar, where she touched on topics ranging from student debt to international trade.

(This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.)

Courtesy of the Currier Museum

A man and a woman, on an empty stage, are holding hands.

“They will take a bow, it will be their last curtain, they both know that they are at the ends of their, not only their careers, but their lives, and they will go off into this void,” explains Kurt Sundstrom, senior curator for the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

During a campaign stop in Nashua, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris criticized a measure passed Tuesday by the Alabama legislature that would ban nearly all abortions in that state.

“Let us all agree that women’s health care is under attack, and we will not stand for it,” Harris told a standing room only crowd inside of Girls, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to empowering young women.  

The Alabama statute, which is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey, would make performing an abortion a felony except in very limited circumstances.

Amanda Loder/NHPR

At Sturm Ruger’s annual shareholder meeting in New London, N.H., Wednesday, the gun manufacturer defended its business model and rejected a push to unseat two board members.

Michael Brindley / NHPR

When he died last summer at the age of 89, Donald Hall left behind an extensive output of poetry and prose writing.

The one-time poet laureate also left behind a lifetime of possessions, from antiques and rare books, to coins and baseball cards. This week, many of those items will go up for sale to the public.

Courtesy of Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson doesn’t have long hair, and he’s not big into exercise. And yet, he’s always wearing a bandana—one he designed himself.

“This is a northeast turtle bandana, which I made because I kept looking for a bandana with turtles on it. But all I could find was Ninja Turtles, so I said the hell with this, I have to make one,” Patterson explains.

DD via Flickr Creative Commons

Medical marijuana patients in New Hampshire will be able to grow their own cannabis under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate.

HB 364, which passed on a 14-10 vote, allows qualified patients to grow up to six plants--three mature, and three immature--after they register with the state.

Credit mikecogh via Flickr Creative Commons

A former prison chaplain pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court to charges he smuggled drugs and other contraband to inmates.

Joseph Buenviaje served as chaplain at the federal prison in Berlin from 2015 until November of last year, when he was arrested after being found in possession of hundreds of strips of Suboxone.

Savannah Maher/NHPR

A former Dean of Students at Bedford High School is suing the school district, arguing her termination after providing testimony in a sexual assault case was a violation of her First Amendment rights.

Zanna Blaney was put on leave in August 2018 after she gave character testimony on behalf of Kristie Torbick.

Pool photo / Deb Cram

 

A man with four wives in four different states pleaded guilty to bigamy charges in Strafford County Superior Court on Monday. 

Michael Middleon was sentenced to 12 months in prison, with all of that time suspended pending good behavior. Middleton, who gained notoriety as the 'Cupid of Chaos,' is also ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation. 

Proseuctors say that the 43-year-old married a Georgia woman in 2006, an Alabama woman in 2011 and a New Hampshire woman in 2013.

Christo Bland / https://www.christobland.com/

Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships, a Philadelphia-based company attempting to revive a glove-less form of boxing, is seeking to hold its next slate of fights in New Hampshire this summer.

A list containing the names of approximately 250 New Hampshire law enforcement officers who may have credibility issues must be made public, according to an order issued by a Superior Court judge.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

During a stop in Keene on Tuesday, Democratic Presidential candidate Kamala Harris laid out a plan she says will reduce gun violence in America.

The California senator told a crowd at Keene State College that if elected, she would give Congress 100 days to enact “reasonable gun safety laws.” Without action, she would seek to use executive powers.

The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College played host Monday night to a televised forum with a few 2020 presidential candidates: Five Democrats, over five hours, in front of 500 or so college students. NHPR’s Todd Bookman reports on how this made-for-TV take on a New Hampshire tradition came together.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Robert Frese’s police file is as thick as the Bible, but it contains a very different collection of stories.

Take the time he hit a traffic flagger and drove off.

It was August 2017, and Frese, unhappy with a road closure in Portsmouth, bumped his car into Fred Chase before fleeing the scene.

Rouven74/Wikimedia Commons

SIG Sauer is asking a federal court judge in Texas to dismiss a proposed class action lawsuit that centers on the safety of its popular P320 pistol, arguing that the weapon is safe.

The lawsuit, which was filed by Dante Gordon of Katy, Texas, claims SIG Sauer knowingly sold hundreds of thousands of pistols that could fire when dropped. In court papers filed Tuesday, the Newington-based gunmaker denies that “there is a drop fire defect,” and argues that the suit should be denied class action status because it is “improperly overbroad.”

Twitter/Sen. Shaheen

As the United States prepares for another round of peace talks with the Taliban, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says Afghan women are prepared to play a larger role.

Shaheen, who is visiting both Iraq and Afghanistan this week as part of a congressional delegation, told reporters Monday that she met with a number of women leaders during stops in Kabul and Kandahar Province, and that she’s advocating for an “inclusive process” when talks resume later this week in Qatar.

The Taliban says its delegation, for the first time, will include women.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A federal judge has turned down a request by the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss a lawsuit brought the New Hampshire Lottery Commission.

Thursday’s ruling comes in a case that centers on a surprise opinion released by the DOJ in November 2018 that could have broad implications for all lottery games.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A Manchester auto mechanic with a criminal record appeared before Gov. Chris Sununu and the Executive Council on Wednesday seeking a pardon to avoid deportation.

Alain Ata, now 34, burglarized a Salem house in December 2004. A week later, he helped two accomplices break into a second home that was owned by his ex-girlfriend’s parents. After being found guilty, Ata served a lengthy prison sentence, but the conviction also meant eventual deportation to Lebanon, the country he and his family fled from when he was 10 years old.

NH DHHS

A final report from state health officials concludes that an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease in Hampton sickened up to 49 people last year, and was linked to two deaths.

State epidemiologists traced the outbreak to a hot tub at The Sands Hotel in Hampton. After the hot tub was ordered closed in late August, there were no new additional cases reported.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

One problem with being a good minor league baseball team is that your best players aren’t around for long.

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats, who kick off their 2019 season on Thursday in Manchester, won last year’s Eastern League title with the help of three sons of famous major leaguers:  Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and "born to hit" slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Facebook

Earlier this year, Newington-based SIG Sauer announced the latest in a string of sizeable contracts: the Indian Army agreed to pay the gun maker a reported $72 million for 72,400 rifles for its infantry soldiers.

Getty Images/NHPR

Court officials in Germany announced Wednesday that Ron Cohen, CEO of Newington-based gun maker SIG Sauer, will avoid jail time for his role in an illegal shipment of 38,000 pistols sent to Colombia.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Tobias Tarr spent the afternoon of June 17, 2017 tending to the garden at a homeless shelter in Keene.

That evening, still covered in dirt, Tarr found himself in an awkward situation: a resident of the facility had arrived home drunk and agitated.

“I sat with him on the couch and just calmed him down. He had it in his head that he wanted to beat somebody up upstairs,” says Tarr.

NHPR Staff

A paid family medical leave program cleared the New Hampshire House on Wednesday, setting up a possible veto from Gov. Chris Sununu.

Senate Bill 1, a top priority for Democrats this session, calls for up to twelve weeks of paid leave at up to 60 percent of a worker’s salary. Employees could use the benefit after the birth or adoption of a child, or take care of a sick family member.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand was in Portsmouth Friday for a roundtable discussion on safe drinking water.

New Hampshire’s Seacoast region recently has been at the forefront of issues surrounding contaminated drinking water, a result of a class of chemicals known as PFAS that were widely used in firefighting foams, as well as other consumer products.

Inside the Portsmouth Library, Gillibrand told the audience that communities in her home state of New York are also dealing with the fallout of PFAS contamination.

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Students from the Seacoast area participated in Friday’s worldwide Youth Climate Strike, a coordinated event demanding immediate action on climate change.

In Portsmouth’s Market Square, a thick crowd of students from local high schools held up signs, passed around a bullhorn, and called for the end of fossil fuels.

Pages